Hi ladies! I'm brand new to this particular forum so please bear with me as I know nothing.
I'm currently 21 weeks pregnant with baby #2.
My labour with DD wasn't at all what I expected, I was induced (something I pushed for due to how sick I was) had all the drugs due to posterior baby. That was fine, I have no regrets about any of it, other than the fact that the morphine made me totally unable to remember any of my labour. I almost feel as if the whole incredibly special time has been stripped from my memory and I don't want that to happen again.
So I thought I would try to go unmedicated this time around or at least for as long as possible (and definitely no morphine!)
So I need to know where to start, can anyone suggest some techniques and tips, websites or any other resource where I can find out more about natural pain relief. I'm willing to try anything so nothing is too weird or out there. What have you ladies found that works? Are some things better than others?
I was natural with my first, it was something I pushed for and went in with that mindset. Was very painful but the amount of pride I left with was wonderful! The nurses could not stop complimenting how "alert and awake" my daughter was compared to the other newborns.
Advice I would give is expect it to hurt. Seriously expect it to be painful and suck and just overall terrible! Once you have that comprehension, it will make it a lot easier to accept the pain when it happens. I see a lot of woman that usually end up screaming for an epidural because they were blindsided by the pain. As if its suppose to be some beautiful bowel movement with a pinch of pain.
Something that really helped with the contractions was I would close my eyes and pretend I was somewhere else. My partner was a huge support as he would whisper in my ear to feel the sand between my toes and see the water lapping against the shore. And each time I just concentrated on his words and I was there. No longer in pain.
Granted after a while he ran out of things to say and started with shit like "Your falling in the sky." And I would just look at him like he was crazy. Why the fuck would I want to be falling through the sky?!
Sorry off topic.
ANyways, I believe its a huge mind over matter kind of thing that can dull the pain. And as much as you dont want to, unhook yourself and walk around. It will make the labor go by much faster.
I was 4 cm for hours until I decided to unhook myself and walk around for 20 minutes. Suddenly jumped up to 7. laid back down and I halted again for hours until I walked again and finally jumped up to 10.
Remember, you can do it! Many of woman have done it before and have survived! There was a time where this was the only way to give birth!
OK my first birth sucked. I had a posterior baby too. My contractions were continuous. One contraction would stop and the next would start straight away. I was in active labour for 17 hours. I got an epidural. I knew it was going to be the most painful thing I'd ever experienced. It took me a long time to forget this experience. In fact I haven't. It put me off getting pregnant again.
Birth 2 was amazing. I loved birth 2. I look back on it with fond memorie's. I actually enjoyed it. The difference is my baby was facing the right way and I actually had a break between contractions. It was only the last hour that was incredible intense pain. In fact I went through more pain with birth 1 before I got the epidural than I did with the entire birth 2.
So yes births can be very different.
I did buy hypnobirthing the mongan method for birth 2. I only read the first few chapters but really recommend reading the whole thing and listening g to the cd. When I had a contraction I closed my eyes and went through the alphabet. I'd repeat each letter three times...a a a b b b c c c etc etc some people sing a so g in the head. Saying the alphabet gave me something to focus on.
My midwive said to me (after birth so too late) that you should read home birth stories to get in the right head space as it's all in the head. For me I had to birth in hospital because dd1 got slightly stuck on the way out. My cousin also got stuck on the birth canal and the result was he now has problems. So being in hospital took that fear away for me as I knew help would be there if I needed it. But I'm lucky that it was just me, my husband and my midwife at the birth. It's very much a midwife led maternity unit. I didn't see one doctor.
Birth pool - took the pressure of contractions and decreased pain so I really recommend it.
Some sort of hypnotherapy practice (I did natal hypnotherapy, but you might have something else there) and a TENS machine. And work on creating a birth space that is relaxing. I had a home birth with my first, so slightly different because I was in my own home and it was already relaxing with no one bothering me, no frantic car ride to the hospital, no beeping machines or doctors interrupting me. But you can create a similar, quiet, relaxed, interruption free space in a hospital or a birth centre by keeping it dimly lit (battery operated candles are great) with soft relaxing music, aromatherapy, etc.
The hypnotherapy was amazing though, as was the TENS. You can read my birth story in the link below, but basically my birth was pretty much pain free. I mean it was uncomfortable and intense and tiring (I pushed for four hours, standing up and squatting, never laid down once the entire time I was in labour, so I was exhausted by the end, never knew I could do that many squats!). But other than them checking my cervix and getting stitches after, it really wasn't painful. I wasn't even making any noise until I started to push. I was so relaxed that the midwives came and almost left because they didn't think I was in labour. They asked to check me (which I didn't really want, it hurt, but I didn't want them to leave because I knew I was far along) and I was fully dilated. You absolutely can do it, but it's about finding ways to keep yourself relaxed rather than tensing up. This worked great for me.
I have had three natural/drug free births - first was induction with a posterior baby, second was footling breech spontaneous labour in hospital, third was an unassisted birth at home.
My top tips, in no particular order are:
Mental Preparation. Our bodies are capable of anything, its our minds that often need convincing.
Definitely get in a good headspace while pregnant. Read or watch every positive, empowering birth story you can find. Both are invaluable insights into what different women experience and coping mechanisms that work for you. Plus they get the oxytocin flowing and will create positive associations with birth , making you far more likely to feel that same way in labour which again will get the oxytocin flowing. Oxytocin is your friend in labour.
Birth Affirmations are a great aid in getting into that headspace - there are colouring books, or you can write down a few of your own, or print some off, or buy some etc. Look at them often in the final weeks of your pregnancy and take them with you and hang them up while you're in labour.
Take a calmbirth or hypnobirthing course.
Support support support.
Be very particular about who you invite into your birth space. You don't want anyone who will bring fear or negativity which they can project onto you. Look into hiring a doula, or getting a student midwife from your local midwifery program, or at the very least if you have a friend who has had natural birth (s) consider inviting her to attend your birth and hold space for you. Get your partner and whatever other support people who you choose to be there to get on board with what your expectations are. I've always given mine a list of things to do or say or NOT do or say (counterpressure, light touch massage, col compresses, heat packs, "dancing" with me, making sure I stay hydrated and offering snacks and reminding me to move etc. Offering lots of encouragement.) you may want them to act as a go between for hospital staff - ensuring no one barges in and starts loudly talking, especially if you are mid contraction. Be explicit that no one should ask if you want drugs etc. You can always ask if you need something, but its really hard to turn down that offer, and it can cause you to doubt yourself
Know your why. What are your reasons for wanting a natural birth? Write them down. Get your support people to remind you of them in labour if you're struggling.
Learn your options and possible situations that may make you deviate from your original plan of a natural birth. for instance what you would do in the case of another posterior labour - would you immediately opt for the drugs or would you want to be offered alternatives first (water, sterile water injections, counter pressure, tens machine, gas and air, etc)
If you feel like you need drugs, are there any you absolutely want to avoid? What would you want first?
The best time to make these decisions is before you are in that situation when you can clearly evaluate risks and benefits without pressure.
Move Move Move
Stay active in labour as much as possible, or at the very least stay upright.
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